Evidence of meeting #94 for International Trade in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was tisa.

A video is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Ana Renart  Director General, Market Access, Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development
Darren Smith  Director, Services Trade, Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development

4:15 p.m.

NDP

Tracey Ramsey NDP Essex, ON

Thank you.

I have one last question on TISA. How will the agreement protect against standstill and ratchet clauses or provisions, and how would TISA affect a future Canadian government's ability to create programs like national pharmacare or child care?

4:15 p.m.

Director, Services Trade, Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development

Darren Smith

Actually, standstill and ratchet do feature as part of the market access work that we're doing. That's basically one of the benefits we see in TISA, to the extent that in the context of national treatment, for instance, we don't have to come back to our negotiating table to deal with the potential of autonomous liberalization in some of the markets that are around the table. Ratchet would kick in in those instances.

With regard to standstill, you're talking about the benefit of basically binding at the time of the agreement itself so that one's commitments will not go backwards. In terms of protecting various social programs and such, that's done through the broad reservations we have. In the TISA context, it's called a section A reservation, which is akin to an Annex II reservation in a bilateral FTA. I'm sorry for all the terminology here, but that's how you'd equate it.

Those examples, in my view, would fall under those broad reservations where we have a broad policy space.

4:20 p.m.

NDP

Tracey Ramsey NDP Essex, ON

Thank you.

I'll flip over to the Mercosur and the Pacific Alliance. Do these deals include investor-state dispute settlement provisions?

4:20 p.m.

Director General, Market Access, Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development

Ana Renart

We haven't actually launched negotiations with Mercosur, but with regard to the Pacific Alliance, this is something we already have with all four of those members. We have investment agreements or chapters with all four Pacific Alliance members, and ISDS is included in all four of them.

4:20 p.m.

NDP

Tracey Ramsey NDP Essex, ON

Okay.

Next, is there any access to Canada's supply-managed market on the table?

4:20 p.m.

Director General, Market Access, Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development

Ana Renart

As we do in our FTAs, we're protecting the most sensitive areas that we've always protected, including supply management.

4:20 p.m.

NDP

Tracey Ramsey NDP Essex, ON

Okay.

We've talked a bit about some of the progressive elements. I'm wondering if the Government of Canada will carry out an assessment of the agreement from a gender and human rights perspective before it's finalized, and if that will be shared publicly.

4:20 p.m.

Director General, Market Access, Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development

Ana Renart

Will we do an assessment of gender and human rights before the FTA is done?

4:20 p.m.

NDP

Tracey Ramsey NDP Essex, ON

Yes.

December 11th, 2017 / 4:20 p.m.

Director General, Market Access, Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development

Ana Renart

We have been doing, as we always do, environmental impact assessments, so we have been looking at that. I can't give you the exact date, but very recently, maybe about a month ago, a notice went out in the Gazette asking for input into our overall assessment.

We don't do broader human rights or gender assessments in the same way, but we build those into the ongoing negotiation. Especially now, as we're talking about progressive trade, we are talking to a number of stakeholders across the board. I can tell you also that the department has been talking to a number of think tanks and other organizations to feed into what we're doing on progressive trade elements.

4:20 p.m.

NDP

Tracey Ramsey NDP Essex, ON

There are some UN tools available. Is there not the possibility of applying those UN tools? I think when we're talking about these things ahead of the deal being negotiated, it's important to understand the human rights and gender and labour aspects and understand what it is in those countries we're seeking to elevate or where we're seeking to be a positive influence.

I mean, there are specific tools from the UN, such as the trade and gender tool box and the guiding principles on human rights impact assessments of trade and investment agreements. Are these things not something the government would use as a way to apply that?

4:20 p.m.

Director General, Market Access, Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development

Ana Renart

They are, definitely. These are things that we use internally; we're just not necessarily doing it in the same way. We're not doing a human rights or gender analysis in the same way we do an environmental assessment with public consultations.

We do build all of that into our ongoing negotiations. We have a number of experts who look at these issues, including human rights. It's not just.... It's sustainable development. It's other social issues. It's labour. We have experts in other government departments with whom we work very closely and who feed into this whole process. We're consulting very broadly. All of that, including the UN tools, feeds into ongoing negotiations.

4:20 p.m.

NDP

Tracey Ramsey NDP Essex, ON

Are there any discussions about putting that out publicly so that Canadians can see those results?

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Mark Eyking

You'll have to give a short answer, please.

4:20 p.m.

Director General, Market Access, Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development

Ana Renart

I can look into it.

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Mark Eyking

Okay. That's it.

Our trusty clerk looked up some information for Mr. Peterson. We find here that the full-time members are Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay, of course. Venezuela has been booted out, I guess you would call it, since 2006. The associated members are Chile, Peru, Equador, and Colombia.

Does that answer your question, Mr. Peterson?

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Kyle Peterson Liberal Newmarket—Aurora, ON

Absolutely. That's perfect.

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Mark Eyking

That's why we have good people around us.

Thank you, folks. Thank you for coming and for good information. We hope you'll come back again to do this. There is a thought—we're not sure, but we're going to discuss it—that we might be going to some of these countries in the near future. We might rely on some of your help for that.

We'll suspend for a minute and then go in camera for some future business.

[Proceedings continue in camera]